"Be the Basket"
Let Jesus Multiply Your Abilities
Have you ever been so hungry you could eat a horse? How would you react to finding your kitchen stocked with nothing but condiments and a few goldfish crackers? Most of us have had times when the pickings were slim for our next meal — and so did Jesus before one of his most famous miracles.
"'There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?' ... Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted" (John 6:9-11).
So what can we learn about Jesus and his power to stock our spiritual pantries today?
The Messiah of Multiplication
Jesus provides in abundance from seemingly nothing. Those who ate had "as much as they wanted" (John 6:11) and "had eaten their fill" (John 6:12). He provided an all-you-can-eat meal. No fancy restaurant tiny dishes here! Jesus lavished them with enough to satisfy them. Notably, the description of their leftovers drives home the point that Jesus doesn't do anything in half-measures. Like "the best wine" he made in his first miracle (John 2:1-12), he didn't leave anyone wishing for something more. But it all started with a deficit. There wasn't enough to go around, yet Jesus sent them home with doggie bags!
Sometimes we might look at our meager beginnings — like the five barley loaves and two fish — and find ourselves lacking or unworthy. "What could Jesus possibly do with me?" It seems impossible that we could be a valuable contributor in his extraordinary work. But Jesus can bypass our human merits and do something abundantly through us, as God said, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6). It's not because we are anything, but because he is everything!
Be the Basket
We all can probably relate to Paul's self-assessment, when he said, "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost" (1 Tim. 1:15). But only when we move beyond who we are, can we realize what Jesus can do with us, as Paul continued, "But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life" (1 Tim. 1:16). Jesus can use us, even in our weakness, to show the full extent of his perfection through us.
You don't start out as a full basket. You're not equipped to the task by yourself. But Jesus can multiply your abilities (Matt. 25:14-30) and mold you into a fully-functional member of his kingdom (2 Tim. 3:17).